It was only a couple months ago that J.R. Smith sat behind the bench in Madison Square Garden, cheering for Louisville's senior guard in the Big East Tournament championship. That guard was little brother Chris, who led the Cardinals to a 50-44 victory over Cincinnati with a team-high 15 points.
Now, Chris Smith is hoping that he'll be able to once again play in the historic garden not as a collegiate guard, but as a pro for the Knicks.
After paying for his brother's college tuition, J.R. has always acted as somewhat of a mentor to Chris, and the story was the same on Saturday as he sat next to him during the Knicks' first summer league game against the Grizzlies.
After Chris went undrafted, New York was the only team to give him an opportunity to show off his talent.
J.R., who recently re-signed with the organization, stayed on the bench the whole way through. As Chris drained a last-second three-point shot before halftime, J.R. quickly rose to his feet, pumping his fist in excitement.
Whenever Chris wasn't on the court, you could see the two siblings conversing, and when Chris was, J.R. watched intently, keeping a close eye on his brother as he has his whole life.
When Chris was asked what he was trying to prove, he responded, "I would like to prove that I can play point guard, just be a contender in this league really."
And with his brief chance to make an impression, Chris will do whatever it takes to get called to training camp in the fall.
As for J.R., now that he's got a new contract, he'll shift his focus to helping his little brother achieve the dream of a lifetime.
During the game, J.R. told MSG announcers that he was extremely proud of Chris, especially since he graduated college.
It would be a great story if he eventually put on the same uniform as his brother. But for now, the 24-year-old has a lot of hard work ahead of him, as two siblings can only hope for the best.